Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Malcolm Stories

Kids grow up, it’s a fact. For some parents, this is a good thing. For others, not so much. Around here, I take every sign of progress as a merit badge. Every step he takes in the march toward full-fledged personhood is a sign that I am doing my job adequately. (I just got my “No Skid Marks” patch!) Amy, on the other hand, sees this march as a transformation from someone who likes to cuddle to someone who thinks his parents are squares. She is, needless to say, not so found of each new step in Malcolm’s development.

Whether you like it or not, there are many ways to mark your child’s progress in life. You can count tantrums. You can tally the number of times they say, “Thank you,” or “I’m sorry I hit you in the face with the bat” without being prompted. You can mark their height on the wall or compare how their voice has changed from something similar to a squeaky mouse to something more like an old rat. They read longer, more complicated books and occasionally catch you when you get the math wrong. The signs of growing up are everywhere, and they have the effect of making you proud and scaring the shit of you, sometimes at the same time.

One of the funnest benchmarks of where your kids are at in life is their selection of Halloween costumes. Without any research behind this, I would venture to guess that most kids start out their Halloween careers with costumes that are more in the cute and cuddly variety, consisting of things like bunnies and adorable root vegetables. Have you ever seen a one-year-old dressed up as a ninja? I haven’t. As they get older, though, their taste in outfits gets a little more sophisticated. Your sweet little baby trades in their farm animal fetish to become Batman or similar ass-kicking hero. Your child’s taste in Halloween attire demonstrates as much about where they are in life as the cleanliness of their underpants. (If you are looking for a sentence to use in your submission for my blog as “blog of the year,” go ahead and use that last one.)

Grandma Jean made this costume and, if I dare say, nailed it!

For this reason, Amy is delighted in Malcolm’s Halloween costume selection every year. He is unabashedly sweet in his preferences, and always has been. When he was three, he wanted to be an elephant. I have pictures of him at school surrounded by three Batmans, two Spidermans and a couple of race car drivers. At four he selected a salami sandwich as his preferred candy obtaining vessel. (He was easy to spot in the crowd of Jedis and stormtroopers at the Halloween parade.) This year? He chose a horse. Of course! After seeing the different type of horse costumes available on the internet, he didn’t even go with the menacing war horse costumes available. He wanted to be a cute, fuzzy horse. We were ecstatic, for while he reads fancy books and does some fancy math, he showed us that the cute stuff is still in there somewhere.

At some point, his Halloween decisions will betray his status as a big boy, (one kid this year said that Malcolm’s costume the worst at the school.) He will inevitably give in to the peer pressure and want to look like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Skeletor. His transformation will be complete, and, with some mixed feelings, I will get my merit badge for “bad-ass costume” in addition to the badges for I already have for being “precious” and “nutritious” (I put lettuce in his salami sandwich.) Until then, and like all glimpses of the little boy we used to have, we will take what we can get.

This does not mean, however, that I will enjoy the occasional skidmark.

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2 responses to “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice”

  1. Juddy says:

    As much as I tried to persuade Dylan into dressing up as Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men (that bolt gun! so cute!), she insisted on Tinkerbell for the 2nd year in a row. I have a feeling she’ll put on that green dress until the cheap threads are completely worn out.

  2. Regina says:

    With all of his Eastside cowboy experience, he shoulda been a palomino!

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